*****

Bison at Antelope Island, Utah State Park 2017

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Kanarra Creek Trail

After our maintenance work in Salt Lake City, we are working our way southwest towards California. On Wednesday we stopped to take a hike in Utah's beautiful red rock county. I took a blogger's day off and gave Craig the job of writing this post.

[From Craig] On Wednesday we went hiking on Kanarra Creek Trail. At the start we paid $10 to park in a city lot. 


Because a popular social medium shows a blog post's first image in an announcement, I'm putting my favorite image here, though it's way out of order.


The handsome red rock in the middle, will be seen in its proper place in the time sequence.

We discussed the fact that the trail was rated "moderate" before deciding to try it. At the start of the trail, this sign "upped the ante":


but we decided to "go for it".

The trail climbs fairly steeply at the start. We noticed that a farmer down in the valley has planted a tree line to protect his field from wind, but the trees haven't yet grown into a full wind-break. Maybe we'll come back to see them in 20 years. 😉


We crossed the creek several times. I kept my boots dry by picking my way over rocks and downed trees, but Merikay took the easier route by walking through the water.




But most of the trail that we hiked was fairly dry.









Sharp-looking rocks came in various colors.



This is where the initial image of Merikay posing on the trail should be, followed by the following closeup of the big red rock in the center of that picture.



Shortly after taking this image, we came to a point at which the trail got quite difficult, and Merikay's shoulder injury (from Talkeetna Alaska) wouldn't let her cope with the hard part. So we sadly turned around, and this post doesn't include any images of the waterfalls and slot canyon that were still ahead. The lady who ran our campground later said we should have bypassed that hard part of the trail by simply walking up the creek. Maybe we can remember such tactics in future hikes...

As we hiked back, Merikay noticed a jet plane making a contrail above. She zoomed her new camera and took several shots. This is the best of them:


This may have been a plane that had recently taken off from Salt Lake City, but it was more than halfway up to cruising altitude. 

Not to be outdone in the telephoto category, I borrowed her camera and zoomed in on this horse grazing, down in the town of Kanarraville. Both of these images are at the camera's maximum zoom of 600 mm (35mm equivalent).



By the end of our hike, Merikay seemed to have gotten over her disappointment at having to turn back from our goal of the first waterfall.


Just wait 'till she gets that shoulder treated!  🙂🙂

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Trying Out My New Camera on Antelope Island

Because we were staying in a large commercial RV park for over a week in Salt Lake City, we were able to order my new camera, a Sony RX10, on the internet with confidence it would arrive before we moved on. 


It was delivered on Friday, so on Saturday we drove out to Antelope Island State Park to experiment and see what it could do.


I started with a few simple flower close ups. There were a lot of Black-Eyed Susans along the park roads.








We went to the Garr Ranch site in the park. There was a lot of old farm machinery scattered about. Craig took this picture using my old Sony RX100. He says it looked like a giant mouse trap.


I started to snap away, concentrating on the parts and shapes more than the complete machines.


Discer








Farm device designed by Salvador Dali



Jayhawk Hay Stacker

Beyond the ranch location there is much open grassland where Antelope Island's 500 or so bison range. 

We saw several small groups that were recognizable as bison, but much too far away to photograph with my old camera.



These three were out for a walk on the very large sandy beach. 



The 600 mm zoom showed the texture of his shaggy coat.


This pair was pretty close to the road, but still far enough that it was safe for me to get out of the Jeep to get his picture. He was using the large rock behind him to get a good rub.



If he could talk, I think he would have said how good the scratching felt!



He then moved away a bit and began to graze.



Fantastic detail! You can see the grass in his mouth.

After shooting about 50 bison pictures, we went on up to the Visitors Center and found a place to have our little picnic lunch.

I am very pleased with my new camera. I have a lot to learn about how best to use it. When we bought my Sony RX100 about five years ago, I wanted a small camera that I would be comfortable carrying on hikes. It served me well, but we are doing less difficult hiking, and the RX10 is really fairly light, and I expect to have fun with it this winter.



Finally, this is a view of the Great Salt Lake from the Visitors Center. The road is the seven mile causeway linking its East shore with the Island.  That's a birdhouse to the right.

If you are ever in Salt Lake City, Antelope Island State Park is good for a day trip, and a place to see the lake. 

Note: Go on a cool day, there is no shade. Also you can swim in the lake if you want to (you can't sink).

Sunday, September 10, 2017

South from Alaska


A few last words about our two days in Hyder Alaska. We went over to the Fish Creek viewing platform several more times, but did not see any more big grizzlies.


We did catch several views of what I think was the same black bear across the pond. He/she was a bit shy and kept disappearing into the bushes. 







I found it quite interesting to see the fish spawning in the shallow water of the creek right below the viewing platform. 


They were all dark in color, except for one that was bright red. I asked the ranger why it was the only red one. His explanation was that it was a lost Sockeye Salmon. It had come up the wrong creek and was doomed to not find a mate!






The other interesting thing to see when in Hyder is the Salmon Glacier which is about 17 miles out of town, on a somewhat rough gravel road.




Because the road goes alongside and above the glacier you can get a good view of the surface texture and blueish color.



We did have a couple more wildlife sightings on the road. The first was as we left Fairbanks, a momma moose and her two babies walked right across the highway in from of us. We were not going fast and were able to stop, but it was a good reminder to stay alert.


The second was after our Hyder Alaska stop, we had just pulled back onto the Cassier highway when I saw what at first I thought were a couple of cutout bear silhouettes on the side of the road.






As we slowed to go by, we could see they were Grizzly Bears. Probably youngsters.



Craig did not put the window down, nor did I stop. This picture was not zoomed in. The bear was right on the edge of the road! 

Wow, we sure did travel back to the lower 48 quickly! We are now in the Salt Lake City area. Craig made this day by day chart.




We had two reasons to skip sightseeing and drive every day. Our destination was Salt Lake City because we have an appointment for our annual maintenance services at the Warner Freightliner Truck Center. They did a great job on our radiator a few years back. We also found a repair facility that would look at and hopefully replace one of the leveling jacks on the Alfa. It has been giving us some trouble, and finally stopped working at Dease Lake up in BC. Fingers crossed that they will be able to get the job done.

The other big motivation to keep rolling was the pernicious smoke from the Western wildfires. We encountered it from just south of Prince George, all the way to Utah. A little rain on our arrival day seems to have washed the air a bit.

So this is indeed the end of our Alaska Adventure. In the next few weeks we will get our services, return to California for the body work on the Alfa, and settle in at Jojoba Hills for the winter, plus lots of good time with the family in San Diego.

Craig has just ordered a new camera for me. (My birthday is coming.) I am excited to get to know it, join the photography group at Jojoba, and post some of my new images here. The pictures in this blog have always been a combination of those taken by Craig with his Nikon "big boy" camera, and those taken by both of us with my small, but pretty good, Sony RX100. But after five years, it is time for an upgrade. 

RV life is good! 😊 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Bear Watching in Hyder, Alaska

My last post was about our "final days" in Alaska. We left Denali on August 29 and drove 250-325 miles per day for 5 consecutive days. We passed through the Yukon, and in British Columbia, turned south onto highway 37, also know as the Cassiar Highway. On our fifth day, we took a little detour out of Canada to the small town of Hyder, Alaska, which is one of the few places that you can actually drive to, to see wild bears. The US Forest Service has a wonderful observation deck from which the public can watch the bears as they feed on spawning and deceased salmon in Fish Creek.

In Hyder, we arrived at a little RV park with the amusing name of "Camp Run-A-Muck", early enough to go over to the Fish Creek Bear viewing station for an hour or so. When we arrived this big grizzly was in the creek. 



We could see many large salmon spawning in the shallow water. They rapidly swam out of his reach as he plodded along. In the picture above, you can see two dead fish by his front leg, but he ignored them.





A little while later, in another part of the creek, he went after  something.



It was a pretty decrepit dead fish.



He took it over to the bank and ate some of it, and then wandered into the forest.

Later, a black bear showed up, but it stayed in the deep shadows so none of his pictures were worthwhile.

Our plan is to go back early Sunday morning, late Sunday afternoon, and again early Monday morning. Hopefully we will see more bears, but if we don't, these images already make the detour well worth it.